Saturday, September 27, 2008


Almost ten years ago I was fortunate enough to win Best Feature Film with RHAPSODY IN BLOOM at the Sedona Film Festival and am thrilled to be invited back to screen SHERMAN'S WAY as part of the festival's prestigious SECOND TUESDAY SERIES. We'll screen twice at the Harkins Sedona Six Theatres (at 4pm and 7pm) and both Mike and I will be on hand for Q&A after each screening. I absolutely love Sedona and its very art-oriented community. I'm bummed however that our cinematographer Joaquin Sedillo won't be able to join us (he's shooting a series for CBS in San Diego), especially in light of the fact he was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona -- just minutes away from Sedona. But I'll use the tie-in to feature an interview with Joaquin on this blog in the coming days.

For tickets and more information on the event, click HERE to visit the festivals website.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Looks like we'll be concluding our festival run at the prestigious Hollywood Film Festival on Saturday, October 25 with a 9:00 PM screening at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood! We've a 200 seat theater to fill, so start spreading the news! Tickets will be on sale through the Arclight website and I'll notify everyone on this blog exactly when they become available.

Ten years ago we screened my first collaboration with Mike, RHAPSODY IN BLOOM, at the festival. Star Penelope Ann Miller won Best Actress for her tour de force performance as Lilah Bloom. I've never really been sure what Tour de Force means (I think Lance Armstrong is involved somehow) but we were all honored anyway. Who knows? Perhaps this year Mike will get the honor. Wouldn't that be a nice little bookend?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We needed to make a midday flight from Oakland, so Mike and I left Lake County early and had breakfast in Calistoga. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Karen in person, which we would have liked, as she was a terrifically enthusiastic supporter of the film and worked tirelessly to bring SHERMAN'S WAY back to where it all started. Not to mention she filled our guest house with yummy wines and tasty goodies! Thank you, Karen for a wonderful experience!

Elizabeth's article in Lake County News was published in the Sunday edition, and can be read online HERE.

In just a few minutes, Mike and I will be boarding a plane to Denver to work with a writer adapting his play for what we hope will be our next feature film project. Oh goody! A whole new blog to look forward to!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Mike and I began our day by heading over the hill into St. Helena to check out some wineries. After breakfast (and a brief stop into a boutique pet store so Mike could buy his dog Stevie an over-priced treat) we remembered we had a friend who owned a nearby vineyard. We hastily arranged a private tour of the sumptuous grounds and topped off the visit with a leisurely tasting of six of their top wines. What a treat!

We made it back into Middletown just in time for the Q&A following the 4pm screening. Again, we were greeted by an enthusiastic audience filled with friendly faces, some of whom were quite familiar -- including Isabella Mattina, the adorable young redhead who has an interesting on-screen encounter with James LeGros' Palmer. She was a terrific sport and joined us on stage for the Q&A. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

After signing a few autographs, (I know, huh?) we were whisked away by Karen to the Boar's Breath restaurant to dine with local reporter Elizabeth Larson of Lake County News. The two hour dinner was not only tasty and filled with great conversation, but will result in a feature article on the film.

The 8pm screening got off to a late start due to overcrowding (how cool is that!) so the Q&A started just before 10pm. Another great crowd. This audience was very eager to ask questions, which Mike and I enjoyed fielding.

Rob Brown, the county official who not only helped us with road closures but also served up an amazing Bison BBQ for the entire crew during the shoot, was there with his lovely wife and daughter. Missing was his son Jordan who had better things to do than see himself up on screen as an extra! Also in the audience was local realtor Rick White, who shared with us the above photo he took during the shoot, as well as our wonderful hosts, the McLaughlins, who invited us back to the main house for post-screening drinks.

After saying goodnight to everyone, we hopped into our rented Grand Prix and navigated the dark roads back to the compound. As we wended our way down the dirt roads towards our guest house, a large buck bolted in front of the car, startling both Mike and I. He was followed immediately by a young deer and, seconds later, a GIANT mountain lion! For some reason, I joined in the chase with my high beams on and soon watched the racing trio disappear into the woods. City boy Mike insisted we drive to the nearby main house, lest the mountain lion decide on a gamier meal -- a New York cut perhaps? As I inadvertently drove across the McLaughlin's lawn, we excitedly chattered on about our Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom experience. Inside, as we sipped wine and devoured cheeses, the other guests were somewhat nonplussed about our brush with death. Seems there is a lot of wildlife in Whispering Pines. Charlie and Linda were amazing hosts, and we greatly enjoyed meeting all their friends. As 1am approached, we reluctantly said our goodbyes and risked our lives racing back to the guest house before we being eaten. Ah, the glamorous lives of filmmakers.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Of all the festivals we’ve played, Coyote promised to be a special experience given that it took place in the very community in which we shot the movie. And as a result, many in the audience were sure to have been extras in the movie, or owners of the locations we used.

Mike and I arrived at the San Francisco International Airport at roughly the same time -- me from L.A., he from New York. After renting a car, we made our way up through Napa, Sonoma and Calistoga, where we stopped for a quick lunch. Then we were on our way through the winding roads into Lake County. Middletown to be exact – the home of Lake Langtry where we spent 10 days shooting the lakeside scenes with Mike, James LeGros and Enrico Colantoni.

We met up with Festival founder/director Karen Turcotte at the venue, checked out the projection equipment then followed her to our digs for the next couple of days. Lake County locals Charlie and Linda McLaughlin generously hosted us in one of their beautiful guest homes on their Whispering Pines compound. Mike was dubious at us staying at a compound for the word conjured up images of the Branch Davidians in Waco. For me, “compound” brings to mind the Kennedy’s retreat in Hyannisport. We were delighted to see that reality was closer to what I had imagined!

After a short rest, we briefly met our hosts and then headed off to dinner at Boars Breath restaurant – a local fine-dining establishment we frequented during the shoot. Mike and I both enjoyed a bottle of the local Guenoc wine during dinner and arrived at the screening sufficiently relaxed. The place was packed with familiar faces eager to see what we had shot two years ago. After welcoming everyone we dashed out (there is only so many times we can watch the damn thing) and returned 90 minutes later for the Q&A.

The response was terrific and the comments very generous. The entire audience stayed for the 30 minute session, some offering up corrections to spellings in the end credits! It’s always fun for us when both Mike and I are there for the Q&A, as we offer differing perspectives and commentary on the experience. A special treat was the attendance in the audience of local actress Margaret Beach who played the travel agent. Also in the audience were local county officials Kelly Cox and Debra Sommerfield, both of whom were key to bringing the production up to Lake County and without whose help the film would not have been possible. Also there was Sandy Tucker, the super nice rep from Lake Langtry Vineyards who was instrumental in securing the Guenoc Wine property.

The sad note was that Tom was scheduled to join us, and his death just a few days earlier was constantly on my mind. It was difficult at times to see him on the screen, but I will forever be proud of the fact that I played a role in the realization of his life-long dream to be a film actor.

Although, like cell reception, the GPS connection was spotty in the mountains of Lake County, but we managed to find our way back up to Whispering Pines (the town, not the resort where we housed the crew during production) and settled in for the night.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

THOMAS R. NANCE : July 16, 1965 - September 5, 2008

Tom Nance, a key member of the SHERMAN'S WAY family, and one of my closest friends for nearly 30 years, was struck and killed while riding his motorcycle in Los Angeles late yesterday. The tragic loss that we all feel is almost indescribable. Tom's laugh-out-loud script and years of hard work on the film were invaluable. His late in life pursuit of an acting career began in earnest with his debut as DOUGIE the car salesman in SW and will always be a reminder of just how multi-talented he was. Tom also designed our logo, website, poster and other sales collateral. To say he is irreplacable is putting it mildly. He was one of a kind.

A huge talent. A great friend. A tragic loss. I'll miss you, Tommy.